Love Will Keep Us Together (Miracle Girls Series #4)

( 8 )


Riley McGee has the whole world open before her. She could get into any college, major in any subject, become whoever she wants to be. . . . But the truth is, Riley has no earthly idea what to do. She's paralyzed by indecision, afraid of the changes she faces, and as graduation day inches closer, it feels more and more like a threat.
Meanwhile, her autistic brother, Michael, is struggling to fit in at Marina Vista and stay on top of his classes.Riley tries to keep an eye out for...

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Riley McGee has the whole world open before her. She could get into any college, major in any subject, become whoever she wants to be. . . . But the truth is, Riley has no earthly idea what to do. She's paralyzed by indecision, afraid of the changes she faces, and as graduation day inches closer, it feels more and more like a threat.
Meanwhile, her autistic brother, Michael, is struggling to fit in at Marina Vista and stay on top of his classes.Riley tries to keep an eye out for him, but when Ms. Moore suggests pulling Michael out of school,Riley has to fight for her brother—and against her favorite teacher. And things take another turn when her ex-boyfriend, Tom, arrives, hoping to give their relationship one more try. On top of that,an ambitious new pastor makes her question everything she thought she knew about faith.

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Editorial Reviews

Melody Carlson
"Fun, witty and intelligent, it was a pleasure to meet this interesting mix of characters. Their struggles to form friendships and fit in were refreshingly realistic. Teen readers will enjoy and relate to [The Miracle Girls]."
Bethany Dillon
"Anne and May have discovered how to really connect to the younger generation in an honest and relevant way.[Breaking Up Is Hard to Do]is easy to enter into because it is a lot like real life—some painful moments along with sweet ones, all with the humor and humanity that draws a reader in."
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Lou Bertignac's family has been broken since her infant sister died five years ago. Her severely depressed mother never leaves their Paris apartment, while her father cries in secret and tries to hold the family together. When 13-year-old Lou invites No, a homeless 18-year-old, to move in with them, No's presence starts to draw Lou's mother out, allowing the family to start to heal. Despite Lou's best efforts, however, a place to sleep and people to look after her are not enough to help No. Lou's gifted but socially naive mind constantly analyzes the world around her. People confuse and fascinate her. This character-driven coming-of-age story relies less on plot and more on Lou's changing philosophies as her relationship with No expands her worldview. Although Lou grows considerably, she refuses to let No's frequent betrayals and backslides into self-destructive behavior destroy her optimism. Told in brief scenes interspersed with Lou's questions and findings, this novel explores the intersection and interdependence of lives and how relationships change the people in them and around them. The directness of Lou's narration, coupled with the structure of the novel, gives it a spare quality, resulting in a profound and haunting book.—Jennifer Rothschild, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, Oxon Hill, MD
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446407588
  • Publisher: FaithWords
  • Publication date: 4/30/2010
  • Series: Miracle Girls Series, #4
  • Pages: 287
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Dayton graduated from Princeton and has her MA in Literature from New York University. She lives in New York City. May Vanderbilt graduated from Baylor University and has an MA in Fiction from Johns Hopkins. She lives in San Francisco. Together, they are the authors of the Miracle Girls books,Emily Ever After, Consider Lily, and The Book of Jane.

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First Chapter

Miracle Girls #4: Love Will Keep Us Together

A Miracle Girls Novel
By Dayton, Anne


Copyright © 2010 Dayton, Anne
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780446407588


The whole world has gone maroon. The bricks are maroon, the dress code is maroon, and even our peppy tour guide’s hair is dyed a deep maroon.

“Hi, I’m Kiki, and I’m a real student here.” She grins from ear to ear as she walks backward across the giant lawn. “Welcome to the home of the Harvard Crimson.”

Pardon me. The whole world has gone crimson. The parents and prospective students around me press forward, following after our tour guide, but I slowly edge toward the back, hoping the rest of my family doesn’t notice.

The Great McGee Family College Tour is finally winding down, and not a moment too soon. We started off last week at Duke, then drove up to see Johns Hopkins, Penn, Princeton, Columbia, and Yale. This morning we got up early to do MIT, and if I can survive a little longer, we’ll check Harvard off the list and only have Cornell to go. Dad and I talked Mom out of Dartmouth. Way too much snow.

I thought it would be fun to tour colleges, but I didn’t realize everybody was going to ask me the same question again and again: “What do you want to do with your life, Riley?” Or sometimes they stick to, “What’s your passion, Riley?” And I haven’t figured out how to answer them. Somehow, “I have no earthly idea” doesn’t seem to be what they’re looking for.

“We are now entering the famous Harvard Yard.” The group falls silent, almost reverent, and Kiki stops on the other side of the crimson-bricked archway and waits while we file through. As she recaps the history of the university, which involves a bunch of dead white guys—just like every other school, Mom spies me slouching low at the back of the crowd.

“Isn’t this beautiful?” She takes a deep breath and closes her eyes. “I could really see you being happy here, Riley.” I nod because it’s easier than trying to explain. “Did you know the Latin word veritas on the seal”—she holds out a brochure for me—“means truth?” She flips the brochure open and starts paging through photos of students sitting under autumn trees.

I put my pointer finger over my lips, then point at Kiki. Mom nods and jogs back to my brother, Michael, who has Asperger’s syndrome, or high-functioning autism. Mom and Dad have done a ton of work to help him with his social skills, but he’s still prone to legendary meltdowns. After the scene he caused at MIT this morning, she’s been watching him like a hawk.

“This really seems like a good one.” Dad comes up behind me in a sneak attack. I glance across the group and see Michael pulling on Mom’s hand, trying to get over to a statue of a seated man. “These kids seem like your kind of people.”

Dad and I look around the yard at the students hauling mattresses and carrying plastic crates stuffed with junk. A group lounges on the steps of one of the historic buildings, drinking from eco-friendly metal thermoses.

I shrug and pull my short hair into a pathetic ponytail. Not my best look, but it’s sweltering today.

“Do you like it better than Princeton?”

I try to avoid his stare, but he follows my eyes until I give in and focus on him. In the weak afternoon sunlight, I notice that the gray patches at his temples are spreading through his warm brown hair, like two silver streaks down his head.

“I don’t know. Princeton was fine.” Princeton is Ana’s thing, her dream. All I could think about the entire time I was there was, How did she choose this school? How did she know it was for her? Is there a feeling you get? Is it like how I knew about Tom?

Kiki climbs a few steps up to an old brick building and claps excitedly. “Massachusetts Hall is special for two reasons.” She beams at our group and holds up one finger. “First, it’s the oldest building on campus, dating back to 1720.” Everyone in our group oohs, and Mom whispers something to another mother. “And”—Kiki makes eye contact with the prospective students in her pack—“it’s a freshman dorm! Let’s go take a look, shall we?”

We walk in a tight-knit pack up the stairs and down the third-floor hallway. Loud music pours from the rooms, the beats clashing. Finally we stop at a dorm room with two neatly made beds and two tidy desks with crimson folders emblazoned with the Harvard seal. I realize there’s nothing real about this room or this choreographed moment, like almost every moment of every college tour we’ve taken. How am I supposed to get a feel for the campus with these phony experiences?

As Kiki begins explaining dorm security, I slip out of the room and try to collect my thoughts. This is merely a minor case of butterflies, nothing more. I’m sure everybody gets them when touring colleges. I’ll call Ana, and she’ll talk me through this.

I rummage through my purse, searching under all the brochures and school spirit junk until my fingers find my phone’s smooth edges.

Wait, I can’t call Ana. She loved every second of her college tour. When she came back from the East Coast a few weeks ago, she couldn’t stop talking about Princeton’s amazing science labs. Plus, she already knows beyond a shadow of a doubt she wants to be a neonatal surgeon. She had open-heart surgery as a baby and has always felt called to follow the path of the doctors who saved her life.

Zoe would totally get it. I scroll through my contacts, all the way down to Z.

But maybe it isn’t fair to call Zo. Her parents are doing a little better, but money is still tight. She didn’t get to go on a college tour this summer, and I’m not really sure there’s any money put aside for her education. I’d be a jerk to call and complain.

I scroll back up to Christine. She’s headed to New York next year to become a painter. All she’s ever wanted is to get out of Half Moon Bay. We’ve always understood each other in that way.

But as I’m pressing the button for her name, I remember that today is Tyler’s birthday and she was going to surprise him with a scavenger hunt through town.

That leaves one person. I find his name and quickly punch the button. “Pick up, pick up,” I chant quietly. A voice in my head reminds me I shouldn’t be calling my ex-boyfriend, the only guy I ever loved, the one who went off to college and left me behind, but I try to quiet it. All these months I’ve been strong and not e-mailed him, not called him, but I don’t have anyone else right now.

“Hey there.” Tom’s deep voice is a little scratchy, like he just woke up, and it sends a shiver down my spine. The guys at Marina Vista still sound like chipmunks. “How… What’s up?” he asks.

Technically the breakup a few months ago was mutual—technically. I want to talk to him, but it’s just as friends. He’s already gone through the whole college application process, so he’ll help me get my head on straight.

“I hate Harvard.” A woman glares at me as she passes down the hall. I lower my voice. “Well, I don’t hate Harvard—that’s not it. My parents love it, and the teachers all love it. Actually, everybody loves it except me.”

“What are you talking about?” He yawns loudly.

“I’m on my college tour, standing in the hallowed halls of Harvard right now. Well, a dorm hallway anyway.” Two girls pass me, talking loudly. “They want me to go here, but it doesn’t feel right.”

“So don’t apply. You’re not like everybody else.”

I bite my lip. It’s such a Tom thing to say and exactly what I need to hear. After months of not talking, he still knows how to make me feel better. Tom always put the Miracle Girls on edge, but they never got to see this side of him, the big heart hidden inside his chiseled chest.

The noisy tour group pours out of the dorm room, and Kiki ushers them toward the exit at the end of the hall, pointing at some posters on the wall. Mom spots me on the phone and motions for me to rejoin the group.

“It’s funny that you called,” Tom says. “I actually wanted to tell you something.”

The tour group files into the stairwell. Dad lingers for a moment, frowning, and then goes with them.

“I’m transferring to UCSF and moving back to San Francisco.”

“What?” I press my finger to my ear, trying to block out the noise in the hall. That can’t be right. I’ve just gotten used to him being in Santa Barbara, which isn’t that far, but far enough for him to feel really and truly gone from my life.

“Santa Barbara wasn’t working out, and now I can live at home and save some cash.”

My heart begins to pound.

“I miss my old friends, you know—crazy blond girls who call me out of the blue and stuff. I miss… talking.”

My pulse drums loudly in my ears.

Mom peeks her head back in the door and widens her eyes at me. “You’re missing everything!”

“I—” I wave at Mom. “I’ve got to run, but I’ll call you later.” I snap the phone shut before he can respond and chuck it back into my purse. He’s coming back? I lean my head against the wall to keep it from spinning.

“Riley!” Mom plants her hands on her hips.

“Coming.” I jog over to her lingering in the stairwell. I file in at the back of the group and wind down the few flights of stairs with Mom hot on my heels. I can’t think about Tom now. I’ll deal with that later, once I’m back home and I’ve had time to wrap my mind around the fact that he isn’t gone, that his voice almost sounded like it used to before we drifted apart.

We re-enter the Harvard Yard, the sun stinging my eyes, and Kiki yammers on and on about the different types of architecture, pointing out stuff like Doric columns and neoclassical facades.

It’s not that Harvard isn’t beautiful. The campus is historic and hallowed and dripping in ivy, and there’s no question that it’s one of the best colleges in the country. If I went here, I’d get a great education, have opportunities I’d never get anywhere else, and meet all kinds of new, fascinating friends….

My mind flashes to Half Moon Bay, the faces of the Miracle Girls.

I can’t believe that in a year this is going to be my life. This could be my freshman dorm, but looking out over this crowded lawn, I can’t picture it. I try to imagine myself lounging in the courtyard, heading to fascinating lectures, eating in the dining hall, but my brain refuses. The only life I can imagine is at Marina Vista, hanging out with the girls, being close when Michael needs me.

Mom grins at me as Kiki explains how the meal plans work.

They think I want to go to Harvard, but I don’t. They think I’m excited about this, but I’m scared out of my mind. They think they know the real Riley McGee, but even I haven’t met her. They think I have it all figured out, but I’m totally lost.

So much for veritas.


Excerpted from Miracle Girls #4: Love Will Keep Us Together by Dayton, Anne Copyright © 2010 by Dayton, Anne. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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  • Posted April 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen for

    Graduation is looming over the Miracle Girls as Pomp and Circumstance can be heard in the distance. Ana, Zoey, and Christine all have their futures planned out, but for Riley, not so much. Even if she is the most well-rounded student at Marina Vista, there are too many roads to take.

    The age old "what are you going to do when you graduate" question is one that Riley can't answer quite yet. This becomes even more evident during the college tours. Not sure who to talk to, or who the best person to talk to is, for some reason Tom's number is the one she presses the most. However, with the announcement of his return and the fact that the other Miracle Girls despise him, Riley is once again conflicted. Riley knows that letting Tom back in isn't safe for her heart.

    While protecting her heart, Riley must also protect her brother, Michael, who has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. Still having a rough time at school, Michael faces those who aren't receptive to a person who is different then them. Riley may feel guilty for feeling a little embarrassed by him, but she still has to stand up for him. She is on a mission to find a doctor to help her brother out, because if she decides to go away, no one will look out for him.

    Riley also begins to develop a relationship with Ben, someone who she never thought she would hang out with or even talk to. But Ben is having family problems of his own, mainly involving his sister, Asha, and he's someone Riley can easily talk to. Riley also must console Ana, as tragedy strikes someone close to her, and stand up for Asha, who everyone turns their back on for a decision she made.

    Join Riley in the fourth installment of the MIRACLE GIRLS series as she struggles in finding the right path for herself and for others. Riley just needs to remember that there still is that special person who will guide her.

    LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER continues the series that is full of substance and reality. Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt keep the momentum going from the very first page to the heartwarming ending. This installment focuses on so many issues that teens go through, from selecting a college, to figuring out your future, to pregnancies, autism, and death.

    Readers will be flipping the pages with one hand while holding a tissue in the other. The love that the Miracle Girls have for one another is awe-inspiring, and it's great to know that it will keep them together.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

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    Sorry to see the series end...

    I love this series. This is book #4 and the end of the series, I am sorry to see it go. We have followed 4 very different girls through their 4 years of high school. This book is their senior year through Riley's eyes. There is no doubt that along with a senior year comes many decisions and choices that have to be made. Riley learns that first hand and is trying to figure out how to make everybody happy when she doesn't know what it is that will make her happy. In the process she manages to make no one happy including herself.

    What college will each girl go to? Will they manage to all make it into the same college and stay together? Who might mess up the plan? Except for the fact that Riley is kind of whiny about not knowing what she wants I really liked this book. I love that this is a series that is perfect for my daughter to read, I am thankful for books like this.

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  • Posted April 22, 2010

    Finale to Miracle Girls series will please both teens and moms

    Love Will Keep Us Together by Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt is the fourth and final book in the Miracle Girls series. Riley McGee, Supergirl, finally gets to carry her own title. Readers have seen her through the eyes of her friends, now she can tell her own story. At the beginning of her senior year, the pressure is finally starting to weigh her down. Her parents have dreams of her attending Harvard. Her friends want to go to USC with them, but Riley has no idea what she wants to do with her life. Ex-boyfriend Tom reappears wanting to rekindle their romance, but fellow youth group member Ben strikes something in Riley that she didn't even know existed. Senior year is a tough time for any teen, but it's incredibly difficult for Riley who has always achieved perfection. Straight As, cheerleader, and she takes good care of her brother Mike who has Asperger's. She's never really had a chance to need anyone or ask for help, so when Riley faces the confusion and fears of moving to adulthood, she has no one to turn to. Riley was hard to relate to in the previous books; she always came across as Miss Perfect, so seeing her heartache and pain makes her very sympathetic for teens and their moms. She's also struggling with faith and church in a way that many will relate to as well. I am truly sad to see the end of the Miracle Girls, but the authors end it just right.

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  • Posted April 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Love Will Keep Us Together

    Oh to be young again! Actually, I wouldn't want to relive my high school days, but this book did bring back some fond memories of that time in my life when I made the transition from high school to college. It is a fun and exciting time, and a bit scary. The authors captured that emotion so well in Riley's story. I can definitely understand her fears and uncertainties as she gets ready to become a grown-up. Even though I have not read the previous Miracle Girls stories, I really did enjoy this one and the special friendship the Miracle Girls share.

    This book has a very positive message for teenage girls. It shows that you do not have to be perfect to make a difference in this world. You just have to do your best and be yourself and God will bless you. I would recommend this book, and I'm sure all the Miracle Girls books, to any young woman on the verge of this milestone. I truly enjoyed each moment of Love Will Keep Us Together.

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  • Posted April 3, 2010

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    It's your final year in high school so what do you do?

    Riley McGee finds herself like all emerging seniors about to tackle the decision of just what one does upon her high school graduation with so many choices ahead of her. She is one in a group of four known as the Miracle Girls. Being in their senior year, each of them is planning on their future college choices, but will they move away to the colleges of their choosing or will they remain together at the same college and keep the love that has held them together in their high school years in their future.

    For them, the choices are easy, yet Riley is struggling with decisions she can't come to terms with so who can she talk to, her youth pastor, her parents who are hung up on her attending Harvard, or her boyfriend Tom who always seems to have just the right thing to say when she needs to hear it most.

    Yet in the midst of it all Riley eventually realizes through her faith in God that some decisions in life are difficult and life changing and some are easier to make than she thought.

    I was provided with a complimentary copy of the book Love Will Keep Us Together by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt, as part of the Miracle Girls Novels to review for Hachette Book Groups.

    This is a heart-wrenching book with valuable insights for young teen girls on how to manage the choices you are likely to face in your senior year at high school. It deals with relationships involving parents, families, church and the occasional boy as well as how to do what your heart is really calling you to do despite what everyone else wants for you. Guess you'll have to buy the book to find out what Riley ultimately chooses and it's not what you would guess.

    For more information on this book and where to purchase a copy, click on the link below.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 1, 2014

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    Posted February 21, 2014

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    Posted April 21, 2010

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